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Dolly Parton Has Turned Down Medal Of Freedom Awards From Trump And Biden, For Different Reasons
Pictured: Dolly Parton on Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Dolly Parton now has been offered the Presidential Medal of Freedom by two different administrations, but she has turned them both down.

She turned down the Trump administration’s offer of the award twice for health concerns, but that didn’t stop The Hill and other media outlets from framing the story as a rebuke of former President Donald Trump. The Hill went so far as to qualify Parton’s reasons for turning down the award as “mainly due to personal reasons.”

The truth is that Parton exclusively gave personal reasons for not accepting the award from the Trump administration.

“I couldn’t accept it because my husband was ill and then they asked me again about it and I wouldn’t travel because of the COVID,” she told NBC’s “Today.”

As to why she turned down the award from the Biden administration, she said: “Now I feel like if I take it, I’ll be doing politics, so I’m not sure.”

Nowhere in her statement does she suggest she harbors any ill-feelings toward either Trump or President Joe Biden.

“But I don’t work for those awards,” Parton added in her interview. “It’d be nice but I’m not sure that I even deserve it. But it’s a nice compliment for people to think that I might deserve it.”

Last fall, former President Barack Obama told “The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert that it was a “mistake” for him not to offer the Medal of Freedom to Parton during his eight years as president.

“How does Dolly Parton not have a presidential medal of freedom?” Colbert asked Obama.

“That’s a mistake. I’m shocked,” Obama responded. “Actually, that was a screwup, I’m surprised. I think I assumed that she’d already got one and that was incorrect. I’m surprised, she deserves one.”

As NBC reported, Obama gave the award to other musicians, “including Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Gloria Estefan and Barbra Streisand.” The outlet added that Trump only gave one singer a Presidential Medal of Freedom: Elvis Presley, who died in 1977. Based on Parton’s admission that she was offered the award twice, however, it is likely that other singers were offered the award but also turned it down for various reasons, many likely political.

As The Daily Wire’s Jeffrey Cawood previously reported, Parton donated $1 million to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center to help develop a COVID-19 vaccine. At least some of that money went to Moderna, which developed one of the two vaccines currently on the market to combat COVID-19.

Parton was asked on the “Today Show” about her money helping to develop the vaccine.

“I’m just happy that anything I do can help somebody else, and when I donated the money to the COVID fund, I just wanted it to do good. Evidently, it is. Let’s just hope we find a cure real soon,” she said.

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